This week’s guest blog is from Glyn Charnock, Owner of Chameleon Cleaning. Glyn is also Training Director of the National Carpet Cleaners Association, helping to keep members up to date with the latest cleaning methods and products.
Draught Marks on Carpets
Have you got dark lines on the carpet under your doors, straight dark lines across the room, a dark line around the skirting boards, or even patches of little dark spots in rows around the edge of the room?
If so, you have got a problem called Draught Marking or Filtration Soiling.
It probably looks something like this >>
What Causes Draught Marks?
Well the cause is pretty simple. It is air moving across the surface of the carpet where there are gaps under the skirting and doors, or blowing up through the carpet where there are gaps between floor boards. The little patches of dark spots near the skirting board are where the carpet fitter has stretched the carpet with their knee kicker whilst fitting and punctured the back of the carpet – this isn’t the fitters fault, they do have to stretch it in pretty hard! In fact, it can even happen at the bottom of full length curtains which almost touch the carpet. In this case it leaves a wiggly line where the curtain hangs.
The carpet acts a filter, trapping any dust and dirt in the air. This is often quite greasy soil as tiny particles of grease and oil in the air, from cooking or traffic fumes in towns and cities, are also trapped. This is why they are so difficult to clean out.
This phenomenon actually shows how good carpets are at filtering the air in our homes.
What Can Be Done?
If you have draught marks, you have probably tried to clean them yourself, and they are probably getting worse, so what can be done about it?
Well, a good professional carpet cleaner should be able to reduce their appearance significantly with products specifically designed for this type of soiling. Although these marks may not disappear entirely, especially on lighter coloured carpets, because sometimes they are coming up through the back of the carpet. Draught marks can also be more difficult to remove from man-made fibres like polyester and polypropylene because they are oily.
I would suggest using members of the National Carpet Cleaners Association, ( NCCA ), as they are properly trained and carry full treatment risk insurance. There is a “Find A Member” section on the website.
The only problem with cleaning these mark is that unless the causes are eliminated, they will always return over time.
Prevention is the Only Cure
Stopping the movement of air over or through the carpet is the only way to prevent draught marks completely.
This is most easily done when the carpet is first installed, but if the marking is bad, it can be worth lifting the carpet and correcting the issues before re-fitting the carpet’
The measures to take are;
Seal gaps between skirting and floor boards with flexible mastic
Lay hardboard or chipboard sheets over floor boards, taping joints to prevent air leaks.
Laying paper over the boards adds another layer of draught proofing.
Fit flexible draught excluders to the base of doors (this may not work if the house is particularly draughty – air can still be forced under the door).
If the carpet already has knee kicker marks, stick heavy duty tape on the back of the carpet where the marks are before re-fitting.
Is It Definitely Draught Marking?
There is one common cause of dark marks around the edges of carpets which isn’t draught marking.
Would you believe, it’s poor vacuum cleaning technique?
Both upright and cylinder type vacuum cleaners never get right up to the edge of carpets, despite what some of the manufacturers may claim. There is always a thin strip which they miss along the skirting board. Unless you use a crevice tool, (the thin flat pipe which comes with all vacuum cleaners), to vacuum right up to the edge of the carpet, the dust and dirt will build up along the skirting leaving a dark line around the room. This will quite quickly become sticky – just like dust on a shelf left for too long – and will become difficult to remove. It is well worth taking a few extra minutes each time you vacuum to make sure you get to all the edges.
If you have any questions about maintaining your carpets in the best possible condition please email us – firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 01603864758.